The NovelNook Flash Fiction Writing Contest Winner IS…

Our First Ever Flash Fiction Writing Contest Was a HUGE Success!

Winner

It was a real battle!

We had a number of fantastic entries and it took every minute of the time we had allotted to come to our decision. In the end, our first place winner was a clear victory. Second place required several heated debates and will be announced on August 26, 2013.

So, without further ado…

Our Winner is?

Susan Pawlicki with her story, “A Change Is As Good As A Rest”.

The judges felt that Susan’s story captured the theme of – A Victory at Work, and, A Defeat at Home with the most creativity. We felt that her entry presented the strongest voice, both her own author voice, as well as her character’s voices. We also liked the subtlety of her plot and the reveals within it. Many of our entries were kind of “in-your-face” with the theme and didn’t allow our reader’s imagination to kick in. Susan’s story revealed some highly creative thinking, and we liked her plot twist. Her story was also one of the best edited entries that we received. All-in-all, we found it an entertaining read.

Congratulations, Susan Pawlicki!

“A Change Is As Good As A Rest”

by Susan Pawlicki

 
“Really? I get a day off?” The apprentice fought to keep his face sober and not break into a smile.

His mentor, who had much experience on the job, looked sideways at the beginner’s eager face and thoughtfully thumbed through the red spiral notebook in his hands. “Well, ‘day’ is a relative term.  You get a break from what you’ve been doing, anyway.” The teacher’s lips moved silently as he counted with his finger down a column in the notebook.  When he reached the bottom of the column, he tapped his finger twice on the paper.  “After all,” he said slowly, “you’ve done so well, bringing over forty potentials to the Organization this month alone—and in such unexpected and original ways….If anyone deserves some time to think away from work, it’s you.”

 If the apprentice could have blushed, he would have. “Wow….I never expected….I mean, I thought once the Organization took you on, you didn’t get time off.  And you came all the way to my place to tell me.  I never thought that was even possible.”

 “Well, nobody ever knows quite what to expect going to a new job.  I mean, no one ever really understands what he’s getting into, does he?”  The trainer looked up. “Even with all that instructional material out there—new stuff year after year, books and magazine articles, lead after online lead, videos, CDs—and everyone thinks he understands how the Organization works…but until you’re out in the field, you just don’t know.”

 “That’s the truth if I ever heard it.”  The words were out before the apprentice thought, but he heard them as he spoke.  His eyes widened, betraying the fear and dismay that sprang up in his stomach.  He looked down quickly, aware his face would give him away.

 “Pardon?” The teacher continued thumbing through the notebook without looking up.  “They’re really quite amazing, your numbers.  And your originality—seeing that woman’s potential and nabbing her in the bakery, for example—well, you’ve given all us senior personnel quite a lot to think about. You show incredible promise.”

Maybe he didn’t hear what I said, the apprentice thought. “You’re right,” he tried.  “What you said before, I mean—that’s right.  No one is ever fully prepared and all that, no matter how much you’ve read or watched and think you know…”

The trainer closed the notebook thoughtfully and turned to face his employee.  “Yes… and I do appreciate your attempt to cover your own lack of preparation in such a simple yet effective way—just a lie, an unpretentious untruth to calm waters that may be less quiet than they appear…to calm me, in fact, after I’ve heard not just an unpleasant word, but a rude one.  A forbidden one.  One that merits notice… and punishment.”

 “I’m sorry!”  The apprentice took a step backward.  “It’s hard to stop using words you’ve used all your life! You know I didn’t always recognize the ‘Truth’­­­­ when it was put before me in the past, but I always recognized the truth when it worked in my favor, when what it said was right for me, like I recognized the truth of what you just said!  What you said is true, even if you said it! No one ever is prepared, especially for a job like this one!”

“Please, don’t make excuses. It’s unbecoming.”  The mentor reached out for his apprentice’s arm.  “Given your numbers, I’m surprised you didn’t bother to ingrain the list of unspeakable words into your being a little more firmly.  What if you let that word slip with a potential Organization member?  It might undo all the work you’d done for us, and we’d lose that person Forever.  Don’t you understand that?  And Forever is a very long time here.”

 The apprentice stared at his forearm, where his teacher held him.  “Please let go,” he said, trying not to jerk his arm away.

 “Does it hurt?”  His mentor’s face was blank, but he tightened his grip slowly.  “Does it burn?”

“Yes!”  The apprentice gave up and began trying to wrench his arm away.  “You said I got time off to think!”  His voice took on the high pitch of desperation.  “Does one slip take away forty victories?”

The triangular tip of his teacher’s tail began switching back and forth with increasing speed.  “Oh,” he crooned, “you get time off from work.  You get time to think.”  He picked up his pitchfork.  “I’m just going to give you something to think about.”

The End

Great Story, Susan!

novelnook flash fiction writing contest

A Devil of a Tale

I am very opinionated about the craft of writing, and life in general. But… I am well-tempered with an enthusiasm for debate. Please leave comments, even the ugly ones, I dare you.

You can follow me at

Facebook     Twitter     LinkedIn     Pinterest     Amazon

I’m also an avid reader. If you desire success in your writing career, you should be too.

I’m currently reading, “The Time Machine”, by H.G. Wells.

All my best on a beautiful day in South Carolina.

           

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

It’s The Journey That Matters

In Writing, as in all endeavors

It’s The Journey not The Destination

I know this is an old, cliché proverb. But, as with most forms of advice that have stood the test of time, there is a lot of truth in this statement.

It's The Journey That Matters

Photograph by Clarisa Ponce de Leon

I spend a lot of time on social networking sites. I do this to keep my finger on the pulse of what is happening in the two industries that I love dearly: publishing and photography. The three sites that I’m quite visible on are LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. I have joined many writing and photography groups (on all of these sites) to help connect me with people who love these creative outlets as much as I do.

I’ve noticed something that has been on my mind.

Many of the people who post to these sites seem focused on the destination and not the journey. I call this, The American Idol Syndrome. In our modern (digital) fast paced world we’ve become accustomed to the idea of quick success.

People repeatedly post about subjects such as: How to get an agent, or, planning their book tour, when many times they haven’t even finished writing their first book, or, they’ve pumped out tons of books in an unreasonably short period.

The photograph, above, illustrates a point of success that you may want to think about. I recently had a small blurb appear in, Writer’s Digest Magazine. No, it wasn’t a story I had written. And, it wasn’t an author interview telling the world how great I am. It was just a simple blurb about the steps that I’ve taken to advance my writing career.

Was I paid for this? No.

Will it bring me an agent? I doubt it.

Do I consider this a huge success? Absolutely!

It is a small piece of writing, in a nationally recognized magazine, that has been around for as long as I can remember. Why do I see this as a success? First of all, it is a personal success. My name is in a magazine dedicated to a craft that I seek to become successful at. Secondly, many industry professionals read this magazine; it may help open a door for me down the line.

My point today is simply this. Consider slowing down. Consider fine-tuning your craft. Treat each story as if it were a golden crown, and you are crafting it to give it the King.

Due to the success that I have achieved in the publishing world, I get a lot of people asking me to read their stories and books. I can tell you without batting an eye that 99% of them are not commercially viable. And, it’s not because they’re not good ideas. It’s because they’re rushed. Some of these stories are almost unreadable. I believe this is a result of authors trying to “get it out there” before giving the book it’s due.

When, I read an author’s bio, and they proudly state that they’ve written twelve novels in under five years (just an example). I know what I’m looking at, and so does an agent, or, a publishing executive.

Embrace the concept that you might not get an agent this year. Consider the idea that you will write a perfectly crafted book BEFORE announcing to the world that this is the first in a twelve book series.

Embrace the Journey!

Enjoy the small steps and perhaps a leap forward will be just around the corner!

I am very opinionated about the craft of writing, and life in general. But… I am well-tempered with an enthusiasm for debate. Please leave comments, even the ugly ones, I dare you.

You can follow me at

Facebook     Twitter     LinkedIn     Pinterest     Amazon

I’m also an avid reader. If you desire success in your writing career, you should be too.

I’m currently reading, “The Time Machine”, by H.G. Wells.

All my best on a beautiful day in South Carolina.

Flash Fiction Writing Contest has Closed

Our Flash Fiction Writing Contest

has Closed… Now The Fun Begins.

Flash Fiction Writing Contest

Photograph by, thecrazyfilmgirl.

I want to thank everyone who entered. I know that you took specific time out of your life to write your stories: due to the specific theme in the guidelines.

I’ve had a chance to glance through the entries, and it looks like we’ll have a tough decision ahead of us.

The judging process will begin with each story being read by myself, and two other readers. We will score each story with a rating of 1 – 10.

Then the top 3 stories will be further analyzed by all three of us and rated a second time.

Flash Fiction Writing contest

Photograph by Christine Grabig.

The top two stories will then receive a review by me, and I will make the decision as to the First Place Winner.

Good Luck!

Watch for the publication of the winner on
August 19, 2013
and the runner-up on
August 26, 2013.

I am very opinionated about the craft of writing, and life in general. But… I am well-tempered with an enthusiasm for debate. Please leave comments, even the ugly ones, I dare you.

You can follow me at

Facebook     Twitter     LinkedIn     Pinterest     Amazon

I’m also an avid reader. If you desire success in your writing career, you should be too.

I’m currently reading, “Hopscotch”, by Julio Cortazar.

All my best on a beautiful day in South Carolina.

NovelNook Writing Contest – Sponsored by Bellakentuky

Ramblings and a Writing Contest

“When life gets busy, sometimes you just got to strip down to your tighty-whiteys and jump into the pond!” – Kent‘s Grandma

Life has been busy for me over the last few weeks. The result of that is this post – I’m titling…

Bellakentuky’s First Ever

Super Fabulicious Flash Fiction Writing Contest

But don’t let the ridiculous title fool you!

There is some really good food for thought in this article!

I hope it will inspire you!

Today’s post is going to be an exorcism (of sorts) from me, and a writing challenge for you!

Ramblings and Challenges

Photograph by Diana Robinson

In the past week, I had two, very distinct, and quite different, memorable moments occur in my daily life. One of them was a triumph and the other an utter defeat.

The Triumph

I have worked as a photographer for the same company for over ten years; first as the general manager at two of their locations and then later as a freelance photographer. The job has always entailed (among numerous other things) sales. When I was a younger man, I would have bet money that I would never be good at sales. But history has proven me wrong. As it turns out, I’m pretty darn good at sales. What we sell are family photographs (sometimes just their children) – portraits done on the beach here at Hilton Head Island. While this product definitely has intrinsic value, you would think that there would be a cap as to how much someone might spend on this particular product.

Bellakentuky

Photograph by Kent DuFault

Last week, I had the biggest sale of my career. It was the second largest sale in the company’s history. I’m not going to tell you how much it was, but I will tell you that it was in the five figures category. This client, and the ensuing sale came out of nowhere: they made their appointment late, had no lead time to prepare, and they almost made a decision to cancel.

But they bought, and they bought a lot. I kept waiting for the deal to fall apart, for them to change their mind, or for the credit card to be declined. These are all things that have happened to me in the past. But nothing happened. They made their decisions, their credit card went through, and when they left our office…

I was shaking, and I felt victorious!
Ramblings and Challenges

Photograph by Laura Gilmore

The Defeat

My defeat came the very same day. About six weeks ago, my wife and I adopted a puppy. She’s a cute little thing: part Chihuahua and part Boston Terrier. She’s smart. We worked with her constantly on the housebreaking, and she really seemed to be getting it. We slowly allowed her more and more leeway around the house.

Then we discovered it. She had been going in the house all along, but hiding it. What made this particularly defeating was the fact that I knew, that she knew, it was wrong. She was hiding it. Hiding it in part of the house that we rarely visit. It hurt me deep down because I’d had so much confidence in her.

Bellakentuky

The puppy is in jail. Photograph by Lisa Brandt Heckman.

Well, it’s back to square one with her.

She’s now once again confined to her pen where if she chooses to be sneaky, she has to live with it.

The Challenge

I challenge you to write a flash fiction story that incorporates the two above elements: a victory at work and a defeat at home.

These are the rules

  1. It must be 1000 words or less.
  2. It must incorporate a victory at work, and a defeat at home, into the plot.
  3. It must be edited to the best of your ability.
  4. It must be submitted by Midnight, July 15th, 2013.
  5. You must submit it to, kentdufault@yahoo.com.
  6. You must submit it in the body of the email – not an attachment.
  7. You must accept the results of the contest without complaining.

These are the prizes

  1. The winning author will receive a free cover from my graphic designer wife for the writing project of their choice.
  2. The winning story will also be published on the  NovelNook.com blog on August 19, 2013.
  3. The winning story will receive a critique and an explanation as to why I chose it as the winner when it is published on the blog.
  4. The winning author will receive an Amazon Gift Card valued at $20.00 USD (for USA Amazon only)
The Fine Print
  • The cover must be redeemed by December 31, 2013.
  • This is for an electronic Ebook cover only.
  • The book cover will be produced to the cover standards as dictated by Amazon.
  • The prize includes design and illustration. If photography is requested, you will be responsible for purchasing the usage rights.
  • You will get three consultations with the graphic designer via email: An initial interview to convey your ideas, an initial proof round, a second proof round. After that, she delivers, and you take what you get.
  • All rights to your entries remain with you!! We’re asking for nothing but a good (well edited) story and first publication rights for the blog.

Second Place! Will be published on the NovelNook.com blog on August 26, 2013 and will receive a critique by me.

Here is a sample cover that my wife produced for me. I will be publishing this book on Amazon in the near future.

Bellakentuky

Book cover by Clarisa Ponce deLeon

I look forward to reading your stories!

I am very opinionated about the craft of writing, and life in general. But… I am well-tempered with an enthusiasm for debate. Please leave comments, even the ugly ones, I dare you.

You can follow me at

Facebook     Twitter     LinkedIn     Pinterest     Amazon

I’m also an avid reader. If you desire success in your writing career, you should be too.

I’m currently reading, “Unexplained Mysteries of World War II”, by William B. Breuer

All my best on a beautiful day in South Carolina.

It’s a Summer Vacation (or not)

Summer is here!

Summer is here

Photograph by Kent DuFault

and that means but one thing for me…

I have to work harder than ever!

I’ve tried to include details about myself here at NovelNook.com. I hope I’ve kept that balance of, just enough to seem interesting, but not so much that you feel like I’m telling you my life story.

Today, I’m going to start with a topic about myself, because it’s important as relates to the next couple of months.

I am a Photographer

This is what I do to pay the bills. Every summer for the last five years, I’ve worked a freelance job on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. I create beautiful portraits of families, decked-out in white and khaki, as they pose, and play, among the dunes and waves of the beach.

Summer is here

Photograph by Kent DuFault

When I tell most people what I do, they get this dreamy look in their eyes and tell me how lucky I am, and maybe I am  to some degree. It probably beats roofing a house or sitting in a tiny cubicle inputting data.

But the truth of the matter is it’s not all that romantic. It’s hard work. Most days, I have to work thirteen to fourteen hours. I have to deal with large groups of people in high heat and humidity, chase numerous small children up and down the beach, deal with drunken relatives that don’t really want to be there, keep a happy face and an upbeat spirit (no matter how I feel), and in the end convince them that they can’t live without the portraits so that they’ll part with large sums of money and hang them in their homes.

It’s exhausting and grueling.

But my point is this –

Over the next couple of months you might find my posts a bit more clipped and a little less detailed. I hope you’ll still enjoy them and find them useful. I’ve developed a few faithful followers,and I want you to stick with me here at NovelNook.com!

Here is my WRITING point for today

(I know you’ve been waiting breathlessly!)

My wife and I live in a single story condominium unit on the beach. There are only a handful of full-time residents; most of the units are short term rentals. The units rent out for a week at a time. We see a lot of people come and go.

The other day, I was leaving for work around 7:30 a.m. As my car rounded the corner of the building, I saw this woman (approximately thirty-five years old) crouched down right next to a car. She cradled a cigarette between two fingers and held a smart phone. She was furiously typing away. I was certain she was texting somebody.

What was odd about this moment was her positioning. She appeared to be hiding from someone. Instantly, I came to the realization that this woman was cheating on her husband. Sure, it might be my over active imagination; but I don’t think so.

summer vacation is here

Photograph by knownunsense.

I thought about what I had just witnessed as I drove to work and put it in the context of a story, (which is something I almost always do). I realized something.

If I were writing a story about a cheating wife, would I think to tell how she crouched by a car, while on vacation with her family, hiding, desperate to text her lover, even at the risk of being caught?

No. I don’t think I would have thought of that.

Observations of life around us is our richest gold mine: observe, remember, write it down.

I know that I’ve hammered away here about the concepts that will make your writing unique; there is a reason for that…

A lot of authors just aren’t doing it; the slush pile does not lie!

The cheating wife scene is in my idea book.

What’s in your idea book?

I am very opinionated about the craft of writing, and life in general. But… I am well-tempered with an enthusiasm for debate. Please leave comments, even the ugly ones, I dare you.

You can follow me at

Facebook     Twitter     LinkedIn     Pinterest     Amazon

I’m also an avid reader. If you desire success in your writing career, you should be too.

I’m currently reading, “Unexplained Mysteries of World War II”, by William B. Breuer

All my best on a beautiful day in South Carolina.

Authors Don’t Shoot Yourself In The Foot

Authors

Think MARKETING from A-Z

You’ve spent a lot of time writing your book. You’ve edited, and edited, and now it’s time to get that story out in front of the public and let the sales begin!

authors

Hopeful Book Sales – Graphic by The Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

But…

A new story begins

The story that I’m about to tell you.

The Story of Marketing

Several days ago my wife was sitting at her computer. She called out to me and asked me to come over to her. She said, that she had something to show me. As I approached, I saw her Kindle lying on her desk. Amazon was open on her computer’s desktop, and I knew she was hunting for books.

“Look at this,” she said. I leaned over her shoulder and stared at the screen. It was a book description. What I read shocked me (you’ll know why in a minute). “Now look at this,” she said. She scrolled up to the cover of the book. “It’s beautiful isn’t it?”

“Yes,” I replied. The cover was very nice.

My wife then scrolled down to the price of the book; it was free. She glanced up at me, acquiring this look in her eye, a look that says she is about to make a very important point.

“I was about to download this book,” she said. “Until I read that.” She pointed at the book’s description. It’s a shame,” she continued, “someone spent a lot of money on that cover. But if that description is any indication of the writing style… I don’t want it, even if it is free. It looks like a teenager wrote that! Don’t you agree?” She raised an eyebrow.

The truth was, I did agree. The cover indicated a beautiful romance novel. It looked like a period story, set perhaps in the 1940’s. The setting was rural, like a ranch, or a farm. All this information was conveyed to us visually (marketing) through the cover of the book.

And then there was the book’s description

authors

Lost Sales – Graphic by Higher-Education-Marketing.com

A book’s description is in a three-way tie for the front-end marketing strategy of your book.

BOOK TITLE / BOOK COVER / BOOK DESCRIPTION

In order to protect the author’s anonymity (the book my wife shared with me) I’m not going to say their name. I’m not going to say the name of their book. I’m not even going to completely show the entire book description.

I am going to pull a couple of lines from that description; just to give you a taste of what I’m talking about –

authors

Image by AllAboutEmotion.blogspot.com

Quote – “Paul had been a decent kid with two younger brothers, a loving mother, and an asshole abusive father.”

Quote – “But Paul stayed and took the abuse until his youngest brother was old enough to get the hell out.”

That’s enough to make my point. It doesn’t matter how well the book was written, how much editing effort went into it, or, even that it has a fancy (professionally produced) cover; the sale was lost because of a poorly written description.

It didn’t fit the feel of the cover.

Here is another example

Several months back, I was looking at my Twitter feed. There is an author there on Twitter who posts constantly all day long. On this particular day, they had posted the title of one of their books. The title sounded interesting, so, I clicked the link, and it took me to Amazon. The cover looked fine, and the title had already grabbed me; I began to read the book’s description.

I was flabbergasted at the poor punctuation, and grammar, in that description.

This particular author has a large presence on Twitter. I wrote them a “direct message,” to keep it private, and told them just what I told you. They wrote me back and told me to mind my own business.

Another lost sale!

The author did well on their front-end marketing with a great title and a decent cover. But, they failed on the back-end marketing; the did not provide a cohesive, well written, and applicable book description, and, they ignored direct feedback from a potential customer.

(Just out of curiosity), I went back and checked the book’s description while writing this article; it’s exactly the same. The author has, however, pumped out three more books in just a couple of months… “Sigh”

authors

Pumping out the books. Graphic by saneandsingle.blogspot.com

Everything you put out in public becomes marketing

Authors, I know many of us don’t know much about marketing and advertising. I know the bit that I do from running my business for many years. Plant these seeds in your head and let them grow!

  • Everything that goes in front of the public eye is marketing – good or bad
  • 98% of the population will notice what you did wrong and only 2% will notice what you did right. Reach for perfection in every aspect of your book, from the largest, and most obvious, to the minuscule.
  • You are authors. You need to carefully edit everything that gets published; even if it’s a Tweet, make it understandable and professional.
  • Pay attention to all aspects of your book: writing it, editing it, writing a synopsis, writing a tagline, producing a cover, writing your book description, doing a written interview or writing a guest blog about it; if you fail on any of these points, it will cost you readers. And…

 You’ll NEVER KNOW how many READERS you LOST

Readers just like my wife

Everybody here at NovelNook.com wants you to succeed. We want you to write great stories, with great editing, and great marketing. We look forward to reading your best efforts!

I am very opinionated about the craft of writing, and life in general. But… I am well-tempered with an enthusiasm for debate. Please leave comments, even the ugly ones, I dare you.

You can follow me at

Facebook     Twitter     LinkedIn     Pinterest     Amazon

I’m also an avid reader. If you desire success in your writing career, you should be too.

I’m currently reading, “The Stories of Eva Luna”, by Isabel Allende

All my best on a beautiful day in South Carolina.

Bellakentuky

It’s in the Details

A Moment of Self-Discovery

details-thinker

It’s in the Details

THE STORY

A fact about me that you may, or may not, know is that I am a professional photographer. About a week ago, I had an assignment that had me on my feet lugging seventy pounds of equipment for about seven hours. Needless to say, by the end of the day, I was exhausted.

Kent Photographer

Working on Hilton Head Island.

(THAT WAS THE EXPOSITION)

So, I arrived home tired and thirsty. I put on some shorts, my good Nike sneakers, and a T-shirt. I then grabbed two cervezas (beers for those that don’t speak Spanish) and I asked my wife to join me at the beach. We sat on the sand and watched the waves for about thirty minutes before returning home.

Ocean View

Image by Kent DuFault

All that probably seems pretty ordinary, and you’re wondering, what does this have to do with writing?

An Epiphany

Epiphany

Something in my brain clicked.

The next day, I was outside, staring up at the sky thinking. (This is something that I do quite often.) My mind wandered back to our beach visit the previous evening. As I thought about what happened in those thirty minutes, I had an epiphany.

A writing epiphany- if you will.

This is what I didn’t tell you about our couple’s moment at the beach. It was cold, windy, and the sea spray had turned  the sand into a sticky mess. Once we arrived, my wife and I barely spoke. She sat huddled in a hooded sweatshirt; her face barely visible. It was so cold that my bald head was noticeably uncomfortable. The cold beer was hard to hold on to with exposed fingers. I set it down between my legs and sand became stuck to the bottle. The sand eventually made its way into my mouth. I also scolded myself for putting on my good Nike shoes. Sand had filtering down into them. Uncomfortable, I tried to knock the sand from all of my exposed flesh. I drank my beer fast to end the moment. When, I asked my wife if she wanted to go back to the house, she was standing up before I finished my sentence.

And THIS was my revelation – IT”S IN THE DETAILS
revelation

By Edrooseo

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was a short story writer. I have not written a novel. I also told you that my wife says that I’m scared of writing a novel. But that isn’t how I see myself. I see my writing as painting with broad strokes, lacking in definition, but a beautiful and clearly defined “whole” in the end product. But my wife, (who is my greatest confidant, and editor) says that I can’t get to novel length because I don’t include enough detail. I never really understood that line of thinking until I relived our moment on the beach.

It occurred to me, that if I had written that beach scene prior to my epiphany, (and a lot of other writers would write it this way as well. My slush reading gives testament to that), it probably would have read something like this;

The couple sat in silence on the beach, sipping their beers, and staring at the waves. The cold wind whipped around them. She pulled her coat tight to warm herself. He looked at her. Noticing her discomfort, he pulled her close. After a few moments, he guzzled his beer, and then asked her if she wanted to return to the house; which they promptly did.

Now there is nothing wrong with this version. It tells the scene, it covers what happened, and it does that in a succinct fashion that is perfect for a short story or flash fiction. (In fact, I’ll admit something to you. When my wife read this article, and she reads everything I write before it goes public, she said she preferred the short version)

Post-Epiphany

Now, In an effort to expand on my details, I would write it something more like this.

Their laughter subsided when they plopped down into the wet sand. His wife pulled her coat tight, burying her face into the hood. He looked at her and saw nothing but the tip of her nose; it was turning red.

Jeez it’s cold, he thought.

The wind whipped ruthlessly, nipping at his ears, the dank odor of dead fish drifted by.  He had nothing with which  to protect himself, so he placed a hand on top of his bald head. It felt like ice.

The two of them stared at the waves, struggling to enjoy the moment while sipping their beers.

He crossed his legs and nuzzled his beer in-between his thighs to give his chilled fingers a break. The bottle slipped sideways and became coated with grit. Anger slipped into his eyes, before he bit his lip to force back a curse.

This sucks, he thought. All day I was thinking about doing this, and I’m freezing. I can’t even think.

She remained silent, seemingly unaware of his troubles. She stared at the gray seas and grounded birds. He knocked some sand from his bottle, and it stuck to his leg. He took a big swallow. Grit wedged into his teeth. He gagged while spitting it out.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“Sand got in my mouth; from the bottle.”

“Oh,” she replied.

The man looked left and right. They were the only two out on the beach other than several joggers.

She shivered, and thought, those idiots are out here no matter what, even in a hurricane.

One jogger wearing Nike’s passed within a few feet of them, it caused the man to glance at his own shoes. His heart sank. Clumps of sand lay along the top; between the shoes and his socks. They looked like mushrooms sprouting. Instantly, he realized that sand had gotten inside his shoes, his good shoes; ruining them forever.

He sighed. Anyone who ever lived at the beach knows once the sand gets in- it never goes away.

Enough is enough.

He drained his beer in a single gulp.

“It’s cold. You want to go back?”

“I can’t believe it took you this long to ask.”

He stood, reached down, and pulled her to her feet.

“Hug me tight,” she said, and they scurried up the walk to their condo.

Ta Da!!!!

We now have the same scene but it incorporates little details that touch the senses of the reader and builds up the word count.

My Point

My point to you, today, is to engage the senses. Think about those little things that might happen. The out of the ordinary things. Too many emerging writers tell us about the color of someone’s hair, or their eyes, or other simple facts that are broad (and common) strokes. Tell us about the grit in someone’s teeth.

I know that from now on, I’m going to live my scenes in my head. I’m going to take in every little nuance of what might be happening. I’m going to notice the grit, the stench, the pleasant (or the unpleasant) feeling of the moment. And, I’m going to incorporate those details to the best of my ability.

And, you should too!

Who knows, maybe I’m ready for that novel!

I am very opinionated about the craft of writing, and life in general. But… I am well-tempered with an enthusiasm for debate. Please leave comments, even the ugly ones, I dare you.

You can follow me at

Facebook     Twitter     LinkedIn     Pinterest     Amazon

I’m also an avid reader. If you desire success in your writing career, you should be too.

I’m currently reading, 3024AD, by DES Richard and edited by Corissa Poley

All my best on a beautiful day in South Carolina.

Bellakentuky